Media Server


Senior Member
Last night I finally got around to installing another Raid5 array for media storage. I used a 3Ware 8000 series SATA PCI card that supports 8 drives bought on eBay. I purchased Larry Rowland's two A-Tech Mass Media cases: with 4 Western 250 gig SATA drives in each.

Knowing another 8 drives on my server that already has 8 drives needed a lot of power, I purchased a new Antec Phantom 500 watt powersupply. I bought this one as it's fan only turns on when needed so it is silent otherwise. This server is in my Theater equipment closet, so it needs to be quiet.

Also purchased some 1 meter SATA cables as the ones that came with the A-Tech cases were too short for my installation. Found those at a great deal at: for $1.70 each including right and left hand ends.

Put it all together and ... no boot. Not enough power (sigh...)

Did the math and it should have worked (watt draw times drives plus the other 2.8ghz / 1Gig Ram PC stuff draw). Did some additional research and found this new fangled power supply divides up the 12 volt supply into two seperate supplys. Only half the wattage is available to the drives! The other half feeds the motherboard (17 amps for the motherboard???).

Pulled the $200 funky power supply and put the original back in (Enermax 460 watt: This one has 33amps going to motherboard AND drives. Everything booted fine. Packed the Phantom up for a MicroPC return on Monday.

So, onto configuring the drives. I reflashed the 3Ware firmware and bios to latest and all drives were found on next boot. I selected 7 drives for the Raid5 array and left the last drive as a Hot Spare (in case one of the other drives fails, the HotSpare replaces it without any supervision). 1.5 terabyes of backed up storage.

Enabled, Single Partition, Format NTFS, Shared the drive, and the Media Servers are ready to go.

The A-Tech cases quiet the drives to almost undetectable. The Server, being H20 cooled is almost silent too. The Enermax power supply has a little whir, with the entire server quieter than my Tivo Series 1 units (as comparison).

Just have to go to HomeDepot tonight for some brackets to build a shelf for the A-Techs and the Zalman Reservator water cooler ( I am also looking to wrap the SATA cables in some nice woven tubing with heat shrink ends to clean them up.
That sounds like one crazy setup, I am afraid we are going to need pictures :D I guess that powersupply is meant to power motherboards which have an overclocked graphics card, memory and cpu.
DavidL said:
. . . I selected 7 drives for the Raid5 array and left the last drive as a Hot Spare . . .
That gives you the capacity of six drives :D 1.5 terabytes. wow!

I'm wondering: Can it give you the data-rate of six drives? Raid5 should, but I assume with six drives that there is a limit somewhere. Do they spec a max data-rate?
Well, as a quick addendum, I started moving all my media onto the Raid array. Got to the last drive which I set going before going out last night. This morning, I saw a warning message from 3Ware saying that my Raid is no longer fault tolerant. Seems Drive 0 took a dump. It is in the process of rebuilding onto the HotSwap drive (Drive7). Glad I didn't make it 1.6 terabytes by using all 8 drives!

Really hope this isn't an indication of the health of the drives :D Better run a SMART check when it's done rebuilding.

So close....

Rocco, Here is the 3ware Raid card:
I didn't see a throughput spec. I see one for the 9000 series here (latest, more expensive):
Here is a Tom's Hardware review:

I got my brackets last night from HDepot on the way to the bar. So, I'll wait for the rebuild (ETA 60minutes), shutdown the server, put the shelf in place, pretty up the hardware and take a pic to post.
Well the 60 minute RAID rebuild estimate was a bit off. 3 hrs later and at 70% rebuilt. Oh, and Drive 4 had an error message....but doesn't seem to be fatal.

Here are some quick pics.

The two new A-Techs are on the shelf stacked.
Thats the Reservator water cooler to their left.
Ontop of the A-Techs is the Edgeport 8 serial port and ontop of it is the NetCallerID and the MRsomething RF receiver.
The HS server running HS2 build 1955 is below that. You can see the other 8 drives in the server window. I am using two SATA Raid1 drives for boot.
Ontop of the Reservator (not in pic) is another shelf with a flatpanel and RF keyboard / mouse to monitor the server.
Ontop of the flatpanel is RG6 amp/ distribution stuff.
To the left (off pic) is the backside of all the Theater equipment.
To the right (off pic) is the Napco Gemini, a box with Rain8Nets, 3 UPSs, the 12 volt powersupply with a few backup batteries, some Leviton patch panels with all the wiring for HA and media stuff.

One of these days I will finish cleaning this stuff up :D


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Actually the 460 watt Enermax is doing quite nicely. No problem with boot, and no inintended reboot needed.

The RAID5 so far seems fine. The drive 0 that dumped during the data load I was able to assign as the new HotSwap drive. It "says" that all drives are functional. I haven't figured out how to do a SMART test on each drive while they are in the array. Any ideas on how? I think 3Ware says SMART is supported, but my app that checks it can't seem to check a RAID setup, only individual hard drives.
I was sitting with one of the IT guys at my firm asking how I can get one of the for my home "server room".

The guys from the IT department love me... :p